Did you know that in addition to being the only country in the world imposing a dress code on women, Iran is also the only country in the world that makes it forbidden to them to ride bicycles? Often times, municipalities come up with draconian rules to find out about the best ways of making cycling impossible to women. Just like what the city of Esfahan recently did when it relaunched its bike sharing system.

Why are Iran’s clerics so rattled by the image of women cycling in the streets? Basically, the tenets of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ideology are written on women’s bodies. Controlling their actions in society is part and parcel of how this clerical system projects its power. Women in Iran have been the greatest victims of more than 40 years of the clerical rule. Various clerics aver that women riding bicycles provokes men. In other words, instead of teaching men to control their urges, the system in Iran blames women for exciting men. Just like the way they impose compulsory hijab.

But as in this video, many Iranian women have been cycling unveiled to shatter the foundations of patriarchy in Iran. They have been challenging these clerics in every possible way. This woman is engaging in a double crime in the standards of the Islamic Republic: being unveiled and cycling, freedoms taken for granted elsewhere in the world.

The bravery of Iranian women in the face of misogynist clerics who impose compulsory hijab on them is simply awe-inspiring. Over the course of our campaign, we have received countless videos from many Iranian women overtly walking unveiled in front of clerics in Iran. Despite being verbally attacked and humiliated by these clerics, these women continued their combat and filmed their experience. Such humiliation has been ongoing for more than 40 years now. What we have done is to relay these women’s heroic fight to the entire world so that the world becomes aware of fact that hijab is not merely a piece of cloth. In the hands of dictators, it can deprive women of their agency. Here is a selection of 13 women who fight the verbal abuse of 13 clerics and walk unveiled despite the threats.

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